Key Stage Three
In KS3 music, students are exposed to great works by composers and artists such as John Williams (in ‘Fanfares’), Mike Oldfield (in ‘Scary Music’), Smetana (in ‘Music for water’), Drunken Sailor (in ‘Theme and Variations’), and Hound Dog (in ‘Blues’).
We cover a wide variety of genres, traditions and historical periods (e.g. pop music through ‘4 chord songs’, writing for film through ‘scary music’, and the ‘waltz’ style and programme music through ‘music for water’ from the Romantic period).
Students develop their singing skills from the first unit of Year 7 through regular vocal activities, and are frequently taught to internalise features of topics using their voices. Students develop their instrumental technique on keyboard, ukulele, drum kit and tuned percussion instruments.
Each unit continues to deepen students’ understanding of the fundamental elements of music such as pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture and structure. Students also deepen their understanding of reading and performing notation.
Students gain confidence in performance using regular mini-plenaries as well as end of unit performances
Key Stage Four
The exam board for GCSE Music is Edexcel and this course has both practical and written aspects to it. The course is broken down into 3 units.
Unit 1: Performing (30% of the GCSE)
Internally assessed and externally moderated Within this unit students need to practise at least two pieces of music of at least four minutes’ combined duration ready for performance in Year 11. At least one piece must be a solo, and at least one piece must be an ensemble piece (i.e. with others).
Unit 2: Composition (30% of the GCSE)
Internally assessed and externally moderated In this unit students compose two compositions, of at least three minutes’ combined duration. One composition is ‘free’ (so the style is set by the student) of at least one minute in duration, the other must be to a brief set by the exam board at the start of Year 11, of at least one minute in duration.
Students may plan and create their composition using their instrument or voice, or using notation or sequencing software on the computers in the Music Department.
Unit 3: Appraising (40% of the GCSE)
This is a written exam unit. Students learn about musical elements, musical contexts and musical language through eight set works in four contrasting areas of study: ‘Instrumental Music 1700–1820’, ‘Vocal Music’, ‘Music for Stage and Screen’ and ‘Fusions’.
Key Stage Five
Music A Level is a demanding qualification, highly respected by universities whether or not you wish to pursue music further (for example, Music A Level is described as a ‘useful preparation’ for arts and social sciences courses at King’s College Cambridge). It is essential preparation for taking music at university. The exam board for A Level Music is Eduqas and this course has both practical and written aspects to it. The course is broken down into 3 units.
Unit 1: Performing
This unit requires learners to perform pieces on an instrument or voice. This is worth either 25% or 35% percent of the A-level (pieces of approximately Grade 6+ standard), requiring either a 6 or 10 minute recital on your instrument or voice.
Unit 2: Composing
This unit requires learners to compose either two or three compositions, making this worth either 25% or 35% of the A-level.
If learners choose to create two compositions, one of these must reflect the musical language, techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical Tradition in response to a brief set by the exam board. The second composition is a free composition for which learners set their own brief.
If learners choose to create three compositions, one of these must reflect the musical language, techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical Tradition in response to a brief set by WJEC. The second composition must reflect the musical techniques and conventions of one different area of study (i.e. not the Western Classical Tradition) and the third composition is a free composition. Learners will set their own briefs for compositions two and three.
Unit 3: Appraising
This unit requires learners to study The Development of the Symphony 1750-1900, 20th Century Music and either Rock and Pop, Jazz or Musical Theatre (depending on the interests of the cohort). This is worth 40% of the A-level.